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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Scarabs & Pharoahs & Sphinxes

Hatshepsut is a tough word to say.

It's easier if you pronounce it, "Hot Shit Soup," which is wrong, we've been informed... and not very kind.

We actually should have visited this temple on International Women's Day to honour the great feminine pharaoh, but unfortunately we were a couple days too late. Hatshepsut was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh and the ONLY female pharaoh. Odd to say that a woman was a pharaoh, but she was... self-appointed, I might add! She even made her image more masculine, to come across as more powerful.

Hatshepsut was the main wife of Thutmose II, so when he died, she ruled as regent to her stepson, Thutmose III. After her death, the little puke destroyed most of her statues and her depiction in the paintings in order to try and obliterate her from Egyptian memory. Not very nice at all...

His efforts were in vain though.

Smart Egyptologists figured it all out.

This impressive temple is considered by many to be the true masterpiece of ancient architecture and not only aggrandizers Hatshepsut, but also honours the gods relevant to her afterlife. This is the temple you always see on the cover of National Geographic magazines and Egypt travel books.

I'm pretty sure, from what I remember, that Karnak is the largest religious building ever constructed. I had to look this up, because I got rather confused... again.

Karnak Temple was a cult temple dedicated to Amun, Mut and Khonsu. But... who are they?

Ok... stay with me but a moment...

Remember how I told you that Ra was the Father of all creation? Yes.

Well... apparently Amun was the god of wind AND the god who created the universe.


Confusing... because I think we all thought it was Ra who created the universe?

Hmmm... let's get this straight.

Ra was the god of the sun and light, who traveled across the sky every day in a burning boat. Odd.

Still lost?

Ya, me too. I think they were as well, because eventually the two gods were combined into one. Amun-Ra!

OK... Now we're on the same page again...

Mut was the sky goddess and great divine mother, so it seems quite natural that Amun-Ra would hook up with her. Khonsu was their son... and probably by default, the moon god.

I think we got this. Go Egyptology!

I read that this derelict place is still capable of overshadowing many wonders of the modern world. One part of the temple, the sacred enclosure of Amun, is large enough to hold ten average European cathedrals. The temple is so big that St Peter’s, Milan and Notre Dame Cathedrals would fit within its walls.

The place was truly spectacular, a forest of 134 giant sandstone columns, each intricately designed with its own pictures and hieroglyphics. The temple must have been quite awe-inspiring in its day. I can't even begin to fathom how majestic it must have been.

My favourite part of Karnak Temple was a bit of a gimmick. A romantic gimmick, but still...

In the centre of the courtyard, there seemed to be an unusual number of tourists doing laps around some monuments. It was the holy scarab.

Throughout our journey, a few times, we have been handed little scarab treasures. These are meant to bring good luck and represent the journey of the sun across the sky. Perfect for any traveller...

The enormous scarab statue at Karnak Temple was a gift from the great king Amenhotep III’s gift to his wife, signifying their eternal love and happiness.

The royal scarab has become a source of happiness because of its strange powers and intense attraction that has even dazzled many archaeologists. This ancient scarab is said to possess unbelievable energy with which it fulfils many wishes. According to Mo, if you walked around it 7 times, counterclockwise, you would be blessed with money. I think it was 6 times clockwise for marriage.

Not much of a toss up.

I'll take the cash, thank you!

Off we went on our 7 rounds. I figured I would do 14, just to drive it home... but I was informed that wasn't a good idea. I didn't want to counter the rolling in of my cash, so I stopped immediately.

~ 3 laps around the holy scarab brings riches.

~ 5 laps around the holy scarab nullify envy and bring luck.

~ 6 laps around the holy scarab for the girl who wants to marry the boy of her dreams.

~ 7 laps around the holy scarab for the woman who does not have children... shit! That's what I did! I don't want children!! I wanted CASH!

The article didn't mention anything about clockwise or counterclockwise... so I don't know. Maybe I messed it up. Maybe I covered them all and I'll return home rich, lucky, married and with child. My luck...

I pray to Amun-Ra not to let some of that happen.

We had been driven by these enormous statues a couple times and I kept wondering about their significance. Turns out they're quite important.

The Colossi of Memnon are two massive stone statues, each standing 60 feet tall, each cut from a single block of stone and each weighing 1000 tonnes.

They once guarded the large Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III, but all that lies behind them now are ruins.

Egypt is cool...

Luxor Temple was “the place of the First Occasion,” and was the largest and most significant religious center in ancient Egypt. It was constructed by a whole bunch of pharaohs over many years.

It was the place of the pharaoh’s annually reenacted coronation ceremony, and where our good friend, Amun-Ra experienced rebirth.

Although it's one of the most preserved temples in Egypt, after the Pharaoh era, many of the temple’s walls were torn down and recycled for building materials.

It was magnificent to be there during the evening and see the towers lit up.

Between Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple is an avenue that once connected the two. The road is 3kms long and lined with 1050 human headed sphinxes (is that the plural of Sphinx?). Actually, today some of them are missing or badly damaged. The road was only used once a year, when Egyptians would celebrate and re-enact the marriage of Amun and Mut.

Remember them?

The Father of all Creation and the Great Divine Mother.

Phewf... these god and pharaohs are a lot to take in...

I think I'm officially tombed and templed out!

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